In Brazil, arrastão means a fishing net, it is also the act of bringing from the sea the fishing net. More recently the word started to be used in Rio de Janeiro to describe the action of several criminals simultaneously storming a crowded beach stealing what they can and running away.
Nowadays, any joint and fast-paced effort of thieves against several targets at the same time is called an arrastão. That’s what happened last night, August 24, in a 15-floor condo building in Itaim Bibi, a posh neighborhood in the south zone of São Paulo.
In about half an hour, an armed gang of five man, after jumping over the wall surrounding the Liverpool condominium, subdued the armed watchman and the doorman and then proceeded to invade five apartments taking money, jewels and smaller items like cell phones and watches.
They left the place in a car stolen from the condo’s garage. The building doesn’t have a security camera, which leaves the police more clueless than ever.
In the elevator the gang attacked a resident forcing her to relinquish the keys to her apartment. The victims were all taken to an apartment in the 11th floor whose owners were on a trip. That unit was also cleaned.
Severino Alves da Silva, the watchman, told police that he wouldn’t be able to identify any of the robbers: "They told all of us to sit on a sofa. I could not see their faces. They all had a cloth covering the face."
At least 30 arrastões to buildings have been reported to the police so far this year in the city of São Paulo. The vast majority of residential buildings in town are behind high walls and gates and have a doorman to screen guests before they are allowed to enter.